Elder Andrew D. Cook entered the MTC on January 15, 2014. I am excited to update as I know how he is doing, especially posting his mass emails.

Writing & Shipping information is found in the right hand column.

There is also a link to a few different translators to help us guess what Andrew said. :D Sometimes I get a better idea when I remove his ! from a word.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Update from Mom

Andrew flew out on Monday. We didn't get to hear from him. It was a bummer. I look forward to Mother's Day!!!

Over in the side bar is a link to the Baguio Mission blog.

He sent some snail mail!!! Oh my heart loves that!

Something that he wrote worth sharing:

did you know President Hinkley said "If Everyone in the church read the Book of Mormon ONCE we would get the sealed records in the Book of Mormon

haha It was really hard to write without punctuation but I wanted to write it the way he did. :)

There was another something he shared. I wonder if he knew I needed to hear it or it was just a random something. Have I told you how much I love that boy? Although looking at his pictures I guess I can't really call him a boy anymore.

Anyway, I'm bawling my eyes out. He mentioned in a letter last week about what does the individual missionary sacrifice. Let me tell you. As a mom I have sacrificed a good friend. 2 years of not hanging out together. 2 years of not having him to cry with, laugh with, and talk about the gospel with. He mentioned in his letter today that you don't know how hard it is to be on a mission until you do it. Well you don't know how hard it is to send out a son until you do it.

I am so grateful for him. I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow. I'm grateful that despite all of my mistakes as a parent he has become an amazing young man with a testimony that astounds me. Had my testimony been as strong as him when I was young he wouldn't have been born.

The gospel is true! That's all there is too it.

Feb 26, 2014 nearly 2am Utah time

Dear family,
I still do not have time to email,
BUT after 2 hours to san francisco, 12 hours to narita tokyo, and 4 and half hours to manila, and and an 8 HOUR bus ride to san fernando (passing through mexico of course) I AM NOW OFFICIALLY IN THE MISSION AND ALIVE AND WELL! sorry i did not get an opportunity to call home, only about half of us got the chance.
well I want you to know I love you. Mahal kayo. Ingat kayo! 
Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

(Note as a mom I can't tell you how relieved and scared I am that he made it on time!)

Feb 23 Letter from Sister Sowby

Elders--Forward to your families or savor the memories yourself. Hope the long flights went well and you're soon acclimated (literally) to your mission. Thanks again for being an outstanding district. You're in our prayers!

For the parents--My husband and I just read our mission call to our own family yesterday--New York City, serving with public affairs (interfaith, UN, events and concerts at the Manhattan Temple building next door to our apartment). This will be our fourth full-time mission; we don't understand how each one keeps getting better than the last!

Sister Sowby

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, letter from Andrew

Kamusta! So they events of this week have been exceedingly interesting.

I'll start by prefacing, pwease write! i only have a week left!
The laundry is pretty much a party. There is a rebellious elder who brought a ukelele, and while charming at first, he apparently only knows 3 chords.
He seems to understand that most songs follow the I-V-vi-IV progression, however he happens to be singing songs that don't... ha ha ha ha ha

So I have learned more about English in the MTC then I ever did in school :D
For example, who can tell me what a gerand is?

There was a talk our first week here, that was brought to memory recently.
A Mission President asked his missionary (who was not having much luck) what he was sacrificing for his mission.
The missionary replied "two years, my family, my friends"
"No," said the President "that is what everyone is sacrificing, what are YOU sacrificing"

This entailed some deep contemplative thought on my part.

I have learned in the last six weeks that planning can be a very spiritual experience. The whole goal is to have a vision for the next 24 hours. I think I have started to get the hang of it.

Our teacher said "If you haven't noticed by now, you never will get any rest on your mission. You will always wake up tired. when you decide to use your free time for relaxation you will not get anything out of it, i promise. so use your free time for spiritual growth, and the Lord will give you rest, and you will be so much better off!"

I then spent the next few hours contemplating the difference between meditation, (which is recommended and effective) and resting, (which is useless)

Guess what I discovered! Meditation is the best way to plan! The whole point is clarifying your thoughts, and seeking inspiration, (or in other words VISION!)

so let me tie in my last point. If I'm not using free time for relaxation, what am i using it for? This is the perfect opportunity to sacrifice something! My branch president recommended sacrificing p-day. I think this is silly though, even the Lord rested on the seventh day, and p stands for preparation, which is sorely needed, or the entire week will fail. I mean you cant just go into combat with no battle plan. oh wait, did I just tie all three principals together? ha ha ha The church is so true!

Another exciting even this week was just this last Sunday. Elder Holland's son spoke. He shared stories from Joseph Smith's life that you have probably never heard. For example, the Typhoid infection that attacked his leg began in his shoulder. They lanced a WHOLE QUART of matter from the infection! also, when they moved to Palmyra (because a business rival of Joseph Smith senior stole his entire shipment and they went broke and lost their land) the gentle man who was driving them kicked our beloved prophet off the wagon so he could pick up two sisters to ride on the wagon next to him. Joseph had to walk, from New Hampshire to New York BEFORE the infection healed. He laid in a pool of his own blood in the snow when an unnamed stranger carried him the last stretch of the way.

Later, when Martin Harris lost the manuscript, and Joseph's first son, named after his deceased brother, also died, and Emma herself almost died when she got sick over the grief, (too many concentric commas!) Joseph made the trek back to New Hampshire. He was malnurished and sick when another unnamed stranger walked him back, refusing to leave his side.

Did I mention this is the first time the choir has sung on a Sunday in the MTC, it was Sister Holland's birthday, and Elder Holland gave the introduction for his son?
My favorite part is when a return missionary in the institute choir that came (Matthew Holland is the president of UVU) sang the whole song "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" in costume! it was beautiful!

Oh also in sacrament meeting I gave talk in Tagolog from memory! A Philippino girl in our branch said it was perfect grammar so I'm excited for next week!

well I'm out of time! Mahal ko kayo! INGAT KAYO!

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

Monday, February 10, 2014

Feb 10 letter from Andrew

Well the caps button is broken on this keyboard so i may do it wrong again, but i will try hard to make the caps work for your sakes,
Here is a nifty thing that has happened consistently in the MTC:
every time the class has a question, the teacher says "pick a chapter, first thing that comes to mind" and without fail the chapter is always exactly what we need to hear.
I have begun memorizing scriptures in tagolog. three in three days. Its actually easier than memorizing in tagolog, and i know what I'm memorizing now. Its amazing to me that i can have conversations with native Tagolog speakers after only 4 weeks, its a beautiful language. Next Sunday the choir will be singing for a devotional. Apparently this is the first time that has ever happened, the choir only preforms on Tuesday normally. It will also be my last choir preformance. 
my companionship got split up because the zone leader went home, so they reorganized the district, i still have one of the companions i had before. but i miss the other one. one of the teachers bore his testimony in broken english to demonstrate a point. It was beautiful and i cried. He was trying to show that even if we feel like tagolog stops us, the spirit will still testify of truth. Another time, one Elder asked if God can controll coin flips. The teacher said, "There was a brother we taught on my mission who told us if he flipped a head he would take the lessons, and if it was tails he would not. after the flip he said "well I guess im taking the lessons"  after he was baptised he told the us "i flipped a tails but something told me to lie to you"" then the teacher said "sometimes, he flips the coin, other times he flips the heart"
Did i mention the cardboard ukelele my companions made before we split?  
ingat po kayo!

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Letter from Andrew with pictures he sent later

Dear family,
I have finally figured out how to attach pictures!
This week some pretty darn amazing things happened.
If you remember in the first Harry Potter movie there is a scene when the stone just appears in his pocket.
I lost my second name tag, the one that clips on to my suit coat. My companions and I looked all around the classes and hallways but we were going to be late so we decided to come back for it later. 
While at lunch my front pocket, (which had my other nametag already on it) suddenly bulged out and felt heavy as if someone just dropped something in it, and lo and behold there was my name tag! i had already checked this pocket with two witnesses (my companions) so it was pretty special.
Aunt Helen's (forgive me if i spelled that wrong) sister is in my branch so we have meals, temple visits, and p-days together. I think it's pretty nifty (for which there is no tagolog word) I also met my Mission President's niece, who will be serving in Idaho! 
On my floor there are two elders from my home ward. One of them is going to the same mission i am going to. I have a picture of the three of us, but i forgot the memory card it is saved on so i will have to send that next week. 
The branch presidency has appointed me Branch Technical Advisor, which includes the responsibilities of teching the new missionaries how to email, and answering RadioShack questions. 
In 4 square I am known as Elder Kill, and in the other districts I'm known as the one with a commercial voice. Either way, as there are two Elder Cooks in our branch, I am the Cool one.
As a side note, people are very impressed with my snack sharing and p-day butterfly pen skills. I'll see kayo in two years! Love you all! 

(p.s. I cant attach pictures on the same email as the letter so they will come seperate)

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

Elder Riley Hulick, Elder Andrew Cook and Elder Sam Anderson from the Battle Creek 6th ward.